Saturday, June 10, 2017

Party of 6

It’s hard to believe that we have been a family of 6 for two weeks now! Our sweet little Collins June Gilstrap was born on May 26th, 2017! She weighed 6# 7oz and was just under 19” long. She is absolutely perfect & our entire family is in love with her! We thought we had completed our family when we were 5, but obviously God had other plans for us. Clearly we were meant to be a family of 6. My c-section went really well and I am on the road to recovery. I will admit it is a longer road than I remember, but at least I’m already 2 weeks into the recovery. Another change this time around is that Brian isn’t able to take off of work. Being a new business owner doesn’t really allow “time off” for personal business. Luckily, Aaron came in town for the weekend of Collins’ birth to help out in the tap room which allowed Brian to be with me during my entire hospital stay. Matt had everything under control up at work and we were all thankful to have Aaron’s extra help. My mom (Mimi) came to stay at our house with the kids and help out with Drake’s nursing care needs. She has since been splitting her time between here and her house with Kennedy & Hayes. Since I haven’t been able to drive or pick up Hayes, my mom has been the biggest help of all with the two of them. Brian’s mom has been great about coming over to help, too. Our family is such a huge blessing!

Adjusting to our new normal at home is going really well so far. Kennedy is over the moon excited to have a baby sister! She keeps saying, “I can’t believe we have a baby sister!” Hayes is excellent to pointing out “baby” to us wherever we have her in the house. It’s also fun to watch Drake with her. He clearly knows that she is there when I place her next to him. He’s much more careful with his movements. He is definitely aware of her. We miss Kennedy and Hayes terribly when they are away in McKinney for part of the week, but I am well aware that I need the help right now. This is a short term change in our life, and before we know it all 6 of us will be back together on a permanent basis. 

Welcoming sweet Collins June!

A little time hanging with her big brother

Thanks to Grandparents we were able get away for an anniversary dinner...15 years!

Pretty sure Riot is in love with our little princess!

Rocking his Mickey Mouse socks!

Miss Bright Eyes!

Checking out "Baby!"

Snuggles with Daddy!

Sisterly LOVE!!

It's going to be fun watching these two grow up together!

Newborn pics!

A little family walk & lake time with Hayes & Kennedy!

1st day of Pre-K and Last day of Pre-K!

Makes my heart happy!

He's so careful when she's next to him. 

We're in love with this sweet baby girl!

Pool time fun with cousins while visiting Mimi & Poppy!

Love these boys!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Go Bag

As I've written about before, I have a "go-bag" for the hospital packed in our closet at all times. It has toiletries and warm clothes (hospitals are always freezing). Brian was working on his "go-bag" for our delivery date and asked if mine was packed yet. Good question...I guess the answer is no. The items packed for a hospital stay with Drake are going to vary slightly from what all I will need following my c-section. Time for me to get packing! Good News...I finished packing tonight! 

Speaking of our c-section coming up soon...we have been scheduled for May 26th for a while now. Recently my dr began talking with us about a plan B. Delivering on May 19th! Yikes! Luckily, that didn't happen. We recently lost a nurse and our agency has been working on coverage. Best laid plans...I am well aware that as much as we try to plan for her arrival, she could just as easily make the decision for herself and arrive anytime between now and the 26th. As a planner, I pray that she cooperates. 

Kennedy finished up with Pre-K for this year on the 18th and her end of year gymnastics was today, the 24th. Summer gymnastics starts up the beginning of June. Her pre-k class celebrated her birthday on the 16th since she has a summer birthday. She and I baked some yummy strawberry cupcakes complete with sprinkles for her class. She was slightly confused about whether or not she was 5 yet, but I think she understands now.  

Even though Drake's homeschool program is year round, he is now on a little break himself. The timing of his break works out pretty well for us considering we will be learning to adjust to having 4 kiddos. We recently took him to be fitted for new leg braces (orthotics), and then to have labs drawn. The amount of seizures he has each day has increased greatly. This makes our little man get pretty worn out. After consulting with neurology about whether or not it is time to start on an additional seizure medication, we made the decision to add Keppra. We are tapering up his dosage over the next 4 weeks until he reaches his full dose. The first week was absolutely wonderful, but then his body adjusted to the low dosage and his seizures began breaking through again.

Hayes is hilarious! He is talking up a storm and keeps us in stitches on a daily basis. He is the perfect comic relief for our family & God knew exactly what he was doing. We trust God knows exactly what he is doing about adding our baby girl on Friday! 
Fun treats while running errands for the Brewery! 

Water Table Fun!

Sweet Babies! 

Farmers Market! 

Daddy teaching Hayes some brew lessons! 

Photo taken by Kennedy! 

Our little gymnast! 

"Mommy, I look like daddy!"

Another day...Another brew lesson!

Love this sweet baby! 

My little sidekick! 

Uncle Aaron has been a HUGE help at the brewery! 

Love these two!!

Caught this little guy practicing to be a big brother! 

Last year and this year!

Hanging out doing breathing treatments. 

Her room is ready...Well, at least her 1/2 of Hayes' room! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


April has been a quite a month. We said goodbye to Brian’s grandfather and welcomed a new nephew (Brian’s sister Teresa had a baby) within a few hours of each other. True sadness combined with joy all at the same time. I watched as Brian served as a pallbearer for his grandfather, a man he deeply admired. As saddening as the occasion was, what a blessing that Brian has been able to have his grandfather as a part of his life for so long.  A few short weeks later, Brian and I had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to our sweet dog, Harlee. He’s been our constant for so very long. We rescued him in October of 2001. He’s moved with us 6 times, traveled to the beach, swam in the ocean, multiple lakes, floated the Guadalupe, Comal and Frio rivers. Harlee was our baby before we had our babies. As much as we wanted to keep him with us longer, it would not have been fair to him. Explaining things to a 4.5 year old was not easy, and she doesn’t completely understand. During prayers recently, I was going through our usual gamut and I said, “Harlee.” Kennedy started crying. Then she said, “Jesus wanted a dog. That’s why he adopted Harlee?” Are we going to get to see Harlee again?” I explained that he isn’t hurting anymore, and he doesn’t have trouble walking. He is watching over us and protecting us. One day we will get to see him and play with him again.

On a brighter side of things, we had a Grand Opening Celebration for our brewery this month! Family, friends and about 400 East Texans came out to celebrate with us! It was a HUGE success! This would not have been possible if it were not for our many wonderful volunteers who gave their time to help make sure things ran smoothly. Of course we have stayed very busy with the brewery, and happily we have hired our first full time employee! We have another employee who began the beginning of May. Much of our hiring boom is owed in part to the community of Tyler for their support since we opened our doors, and also in part to an EDP-Plus Grant we just received. 

Fun at the Caldwell Zoo! 

Oh, this happy face! 

My sweet smiling boy!

Loving our adventure! 


Keeping Cool!

Brother Hugs! 

Taste of Tyler!

A little helper with vision therapy! 

Pure sweetness!

Egg Hunt at pre-K

Lunch with daddy! This boy LOVES his daddy!

Easter Cookies! 

Fun with cousins! 


Silly Boy! 

Boot Campaign Fundraiser! 

Egg Hunt with Friends!

My sweet babies!!

Water Table Fun! 

She decided to give Drake's gait trainer a try! 

Our little princess will be here soon!

Ran into our friends at Vent Clinic in Dallas! 


Late night fun with mommy & daddy!

Saying goodbye to our sweet Harlee

Our hard worker!

On the morning news! 

Grand Opening fun with family!

Fun at the brewery! 

Bedtime Fun!

Our GRANT!!!